Saturday, September 22, 2007


Dear Miss:

Wishing things were different in the past is just a well-dressed regret, but it sounds so much nicer so I'm going to stick with that.

I wish I could have seen you as a baby, those who did say you were adorable. There aren't even any pictures of you before you're full grown, which I can hardly believe, as many pictures as I've taken of you in the past nine months.

I wish I had started riding long ago, but I know it came along at just the right time, when I was listlessly floating in a sea of grief and failure. Thankfully I had some natural talent for it, or at least was told that and believed it, as my fragile state at the time would have cracked and crumbled if I didn't feel some success right away.

I wish your original owner hadn't treated you like a trophy, buying you expensive tack but spending very little time either on the ground or in the saddle.

I wish they hadn't waited 3 years to decide to give you back to the farm, as in that time you were idle and lonely. Yes, you were fed and turned out and shod and vaccinated, but without a job to do and without a special person to bond with.

I wish I had been better prepared at the moment when our lives intertwined. The extent of my riding history was a handful of trail rides in the last 20 years and six months of mostly regular lessons at the farm. I am still completely humbled and flabbergasted at the idea that my name even came up as a potential new owner for you when it became clear it was too expensive for the farm to keep you without any board coming in. You were the last baby of the farm's breeding legacy and it was absolutely out of the question that you leave the property. That day when Willow cautiously told me the story and asked if I wanted you as my own, I turned into an internally squealing 12 year-old -- Look at the pretty horsey! Then I watched you on the lunge line, the big floating trot gliding you around the ring, the correct lead every time on the bright canter and I thought, Jesus, this is a lot of horse for me. When you put green and green together you just get a deeper shade of green. But Willow promised to help us, and she has, she's so patient and I can see that she loves you, which counts for a lot.

I wish you didn't have so much pain; that's what is heartbreaking, to know that there is little I can do to help you other than follow the vet's suggestions.

I wish I could articulate the joy I feel just being near you. That soft nicker you make when I come around the corner of the barn and call your name -- Missy-mare -- and you rush over to the fence to greet me. The simple pleasure of sitting on the grass at your feet while you graze, you stepping carefully around me and nuzzling me gently to move over, as the best grass is always the grass I'm sitting on. The way your thick mane flops over half-way down your neck no matter how much I work on getting it to lay on the right side. The way you pick up your front feet at the walk, prancing proudly next to me even if we're just heading to the wash rack. The way your ears look like a mule's when I'm sitting on your back. How my body seems to fit with your's just right, like you're a shiny brown chesterfield.

While it has been difficult to get started on your back only to have long stretches where you need to rest and heal, I'm not ready to give up on you. We're partners, you and me, and when I look in your deep brown eyes I know you feel the same way.


Epilogue: I am grateful for all the advice that you all gave, and I want to make it clear the giddy 12 year-old did not make this decision. This horse was born and has spent her entire life at this farm, being looked after by the same staff and the same vets, so her entire history is known. There is no reason to believe she has any unknown underlying long-term problems, other than the cracked coffin bone. After 3 years idle, she's been under saddle barely 6 months, and we've done more work with her in that time than the previous owner did in the first 4 years of her life. D and I still want to get a horse more suited to a beginner so he can ride if he wants and I can always be assured of a mount (well, there's no guarantee that you'll always have a horse to ride, no matter how many horses you have, but you know what I mean). We'll keep assessing her as we go along, but we have just begun.

P.S. I made myself cry writing this post!


  1. She is so beautiful and I love your tribute to her. I think you two were meant to be together.

  2. oh crap, you are making me cry... stop it! ( smile )

    glad you're staying with her... I think you two were meant to be. oh wait, everybody already said that... lol

  3. Beautiful essay. You almost convince me! If she truly has no underlying health problems, you are okay. I would just hate to see you inherit someone else's problems, or get hurt. You deserve so much more!

    Horses are an investment of time, money and love.

    You can love a plain, sound, bomb-proof one just as much. And they'll love you back just as much. Just remember that.

    And the saying as I've heard it is that green plus green makes black and blue....

    In the meantime, you know you and you know your horse. Take care of both of you -- not just the horse.

    Keep enjoying her company. Maybe that's the thing you need the most right now.

    She will heal. She will not stay green. You will not stay green. Maybe this was made in heaven. Just be sure you don't talk yourself into something.

    (Forgive me for giving you advice. I kept a horse I loved for 20 years though he was completely unsuitable. Don't know how I lived through it. I would have loved another horse just as much and would have had a lot more fun. Even the end was filled with heartbreak. Guard your heart -- and your body! Sorry, I can't quit giving advice.)

  4. This is really a beautiful post. I feel much the same connection with our horse Gunner. He is on he upswing of a long illness, and hopefully Miss will soon be as well.

    Some years are just like that. In two short years I dealt with EPM, Lymes, and a colic resulting in the death of my daughter's beloved Kelzon.

  5. Beautifully written! Makes me totally want to be there, I can see her personality coming out through your writing.

    Hoping you find the perfect horse to add to your family (if I understand your epilogue correctly).

  6. You made me cry too. I hope you continue to grow together so beautifully for a long while.

  7. Mystere is very fortunate to have a person like you (and vice verse). Have you read 'Chosen by a Horse'? Reminds me of your story in many ways. All the best to you and Missy.

  8. Well, I've had a good cry for the morning. I suspect I would do the same thing and keep her.

    Like Anne, I'd wondered if you'd just inherited someone else's health problem too. I've been around this horse world a long time, and seen some things and people that are not very nice. I can be a bit cynical as far as the horse world is concerned sometimes. And I've heard that green + green = black and blue too, but you are in the hands of a good trainer, sounds like.

    The beautiful Miss is very very fortunate to have you. But I suspect she knows that.

    Pax. Kimberly

  9. Thank you everyone. Anne (and everyone else), never apologize for giving advice! I am always in need of advice. I've only been around horses since June of 2006 so my knowledge base is very tiny. I've done everything you can think of wrong, I even put my saddle on a horse's back backwards once while tacking up. Although I am generally very cynical as well, I do trust my trainer and she's known this horse all her life, so I've chosen to believe her when she says she thinks we will be a great team.

    Tonya, you are welcome to come to the farm anytime.

  10. Donna--Just an amazing post. You made cry. I have been worried and sad for you since your last post. I am happy you are going to go forward together. I will make a suggestion--x-rays. When I took Maddy in, I could have never predicted a fractured coffin bone. You know Miss had a fracture in the past. It might do everyone some good to really take a look at what is going on with her. I think for my x-rays, it was $300. But I know everything there is to know about her legs. My vet even gave me a dvd of all the images. I know it is more money....but at this stage, you need definative answers on how to go about getting her sound. Good luck girl---I am pulling for you.

  11. *sniffle* This is a lovely tribute.

  12. Lovely post...I just don't know what to say.......

  13. Beautiful story. Having such a bond with a horse is a gift ... for both of you!

    Looking forward to hearing more about the two of you.

    I just lost my horse companion of 25 years. We were a team,that's for sure. He taught me everything I know. It takes patience.

    Your story made me ... cry!

    ps: adding you to both of my blogs.

  14. Reading this post reminded me of my feelings for Scandalous. Despite the fact that she was green and I was green and all of life's bumps along the way kept getting in the way, the gift she gave me was far more valuable than learning how to ride.

    I never did get to ride her and compete with her to the point that I had hoped, but she healed my heart none the less.

    Sounds to me like this horse helps you put your past behind you where it belongs whether you're riding her or not.

    That gift has value that many do not understand. Those of us who have suffered the ravages of childhood abuse understand how difficult it can be to leave those wounds behind and move into a new life free from the contraints of the old one.

    If one particular horse can do that for you, whether she be sound or lame is not nearly as important, as that gift of freedom. Listen to your heart.

  15. i was starting to get a little alarmed as i began reading this...your living tribute is lovely

  16. The first horse I ever owned I couldn't ride for well over a year.... I was just as green as she was...and this mare would hardly tolerate her trainer let alone her fumbling fool of an owner... She was the wrong horse at the wrong time and yet she turned out to be the absolute best thing that ever happened to me. She taught me so very much and yet the greatest lessons were not on her back but at her side... Today we ride. Today i know her stride like my own steps. She is perfect imperfection...just like me.

    I think your going to do just fine:)